The 2009 Dodge Sprinter Wagon offers incredible fuel efficiency—though at the price of remarkable performance.
The Sprinter Wagon is powered by a 3.0-liter CDI turbodiesel V-6 that makes 154 horsepower, along with an impressive 280 pound-feet of torque. It delivers plentiful torque to the rear wheels through a smooth-shifting five-speed automatic transmission that comes with a manual-shift mode.
ConsumerGuide feels the "gutsy turbodiesel provides ample around-town power, even with a moderate load, though highway passing power is just adequate." Edmunds cites the irony in the Dodge's name; with the diesel, "a dearth of horsepower leaves it with extremely sluggish passing response at higher speeds—ironic, considering the van's name."
The EPA does not publish fuel economy figures for the 2009 Dodge Sprinter, but most reviewers seem impressed when comparing average consumption to that of competing vans. ConsumerGuide tests a turbodiesel that "proved impressively frugal, averaging 18.4 mpg." Edmunds reports of the diesel version, "it gets fuel economy in the mid-20s."
The ride is a bit choppy, but handling is surprisingly nimble for such a tall vehicle. Once you get used to the odd driving position, the 2009 Dodge Sprinter feels quite maneuverable for those accustomed to driving large sport-utility vehicles or other vans. Edmunds echoes the consensus when it notes that the 2009 Dodge Sprinter "handles more like a midsize SUV than a plumber's van," then adds that this attribute isn't surprising since the van "was designed to navigate Europe's cramped streets." Credit for the relatively agile handling goes to Mercedes, which Edmunds says "engineered the stability control system to compensate for the taller center of gravity and shifting cargo loads."
Kelley Blue Book commends the 2009 Dodge because "despite its long chassis, the Sprinter possesses a tight turning radius and responds quickly to emergency maneuvers." ConsumerGuide, however, warns that the Sprinter's "high seating and copious lean in corners results in a tipsy attitude that takes some getting used to."